Bigger Than Life by Black Marble

Buses. Inspiration for many musicians over the years the latest of which Chris Stewart. His ride into the studio on the Echo Park to downtown L.A. service provided the inspiration for Bigger Than Life his third album under the Black Marble moniker. The result is fresh and lively synth pop on which Stewart played every instrument. Kudos to the bus driver for enabling this to happen.  

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Bigger Than Life by Black Marble
1 review. Write a review for us »
7/10 Daoud 23 October 2019

The 80s are back baby! And boy have they been back. Everyone from Bat For Lashes to Jenny Hval have been playing with the sounds of that most rotund of decades and now Black Marble have loudly announced it’s their turn.

There’s little of the mesmeric balladry that came out of the 80s here on ‘Bigger Than Life’, it’s mostly that sort of fidgety dance-pop thing that New Order invented and Bros perfected. The synths are bouncy, the bass is insistent, the guitars twangy and the drums mechanical. Exactly the sort of thing you can imagine teens dancing to at an indie disco in the 80s. 

It does that thing the best New Order songs do (ahem, that’d be 'Temptation') where a brightly coloured and high energy instrumentation somehow sounds bittersweet. This is thanks to their Chris Stewart’s disaffected delivery that recalls Bernard Summer (who else?). They manage to be tender but distant, a feeling communicated excellently by ‘Bigger Than Life’s wonderful album artwork. 

The lyrics are thankfully a little less meaningless than New Orders can be, and were inspired by Stewart’s time commuting through Los Angeles on the city’s many buses. ‘Private Show’ sees Stewart plainly singing that  ‘everybody knows, the bus to Hampton Roads is where you're gonna lose your voice’. I have never been on the bus to Hampton Roads but I have been on buses. And something about the locality of that lyric make me feel like I know that too. 



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